Every January professional set new goals for the new year, plan ahead their business and marketing moves, start budgeting and pencil in their calendar professional evens they are going to attend during the year. Apart from doing all the above, I tend to update my income statistics spreadsheet. For some reason, graphs and charts appeal to me, help me to respond better and make me translate the figures easier in my head.
Apart from seeing all the income of the past years at once and compare figures, it helps me to consider the reasons behind possible income increases and/or declines and directs me to paths I have not thought before. For instance, I then back in time and try to remember what marketing strategies I followed and how these influenced my income performance or if there were any factors that had potentially left their mark on my income (sickness, holidays etc.). It helps me in focusing in weak aspects of my income flow and shows me the way to strengthen those weaknesses.
I started keeping a record of my income flow back in 2010, when I created my website and started getting in touch with clients abroad. I was interested to see how effective my global marketing strategy was actually and if it was working for my freelance boutique translation freelance office. Of course, you could try to create statistics from the beginning of your establishing your office, or any other time depending on what actually the reason behind your monitoring is.
My first sheet contains the total income per year. This is useful to see how you develop throughout the years, and of course, the more data it contains, the more obvious an increase or a decrease is. Then, I have dedicated a sheet to each year, each cell to every month of the year. In this way, I can also monitor the income that is received every separate month and immediately know which month was most successful each year. This is easier if you include a chart or a pie next to the columns and it updates automatically each time you make a change in a cell. I also keep track of where the income comes from, in other words, from which country. Others may be interested to see which language brings them most revenue, if they offer multilingual services, so they could again have different columns per language.
When the spreadsheet is ready and data start to show results, it is the right time to actually translate the statistics in a manner that could potentially benefit your business. For instance, if you monitor income per language and you notice that a certain language does not seem to be as profitable as the rest, then you may consider searching the market of this particular language a little further. Possibly you would want to keep statistics of the income you have gained per customer. This would also be a valuable insight to know. Of course, the more the breakdown analysis deepens (in other words, the more drilling you perform), the more time is needed to actually feed your spreadsheet. What I usually do to cut down the time spent on this spreadsheet is to try to update the cells at the end of every month, however, it is not always feasible, as work seems to flood at the end of each month making me forget to update the spreadsheet. This spreadsheet serves as my Google Analytics of my sources of income.
Do you have any other method in place that based on your experience gives you an insight on your business sources of income? If you do, then, please do share it with us!